FKT: Shelby Farrell - Backbone Trail (CA) - 2021-02-20

Route variation
one way
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
15h 17m 53s

So many cool moments (I bulleted them in the moment on Strava, in no particular order, so I wouldn’t forget):

  • Shooting star!
  • Yelling my gratitude for my friends and husband name by name during one of the highest moments of the run in the Piuma region
  • Seeing a hawk take off from one side of the trail and fly right in front of my face
  • Deer grazing by Dead Horse Trail
  • The gift of warmer air climbing out the canyon after Danielson Ranch to Ray Miller
  • Saying, “it’s just around the corner” to myself 1,000 times and whatever “it” was, was never around the corner lolz
  • Confessing to the enthusiastic couple who nicely stood off to the side for me that I was totally listening to the Backstreet Boys
  • #coviddoesntexistinthetapiatrailheadbathroom (Where I used the floor as my table to fill up so much water and totally enjoyed sitting down to pee ??)
  • Money B sighting! ?
  • The two dudes doing the whole trail, totally rockin’ it
  • Night wildlife: birds (maybe owls), maybe a bat, mice, bunnies, and the eerie tree
  • Just the feeling of doing nearly 68 miles through the Santa Monica Mountains solo with everything I needed to survive the adventure on my person
  • If you were worried about me, thank you. I didn’t realize how crazy I was until I was out there


This was a humbling run. I went into it thinking I could run it like a supported attempt, plus factoring in time for filling up water. Man did I underestimate the effects of the additional weight over duration. It slowly sneaks up on you with every slightly heavier, differently balanced, step. I ran a wonderfully strong and fun first 17 miles (not making navigational errors this time and nabbing the ladies’ CR for that segment), and started to really lose the wheels somewhere after baking in the sun on the climb to Kanan with freshly filled bladders (mile 38ish). It didn’t help that I let myself fall slightly behind on nutrition while playing on the rowdy downhill from Stunt to Piuma. Puked a little around Encinal Trailhead and rallied after a little walking and choking down sustenance (mile 41). For the first time in a while there was a point on this run where I questioned why put myself through it (mile 51, as darkness set in, and I approached my last real road crossing with 17ish miles left to go)? I could stop and have my husband pick me up? Heck-- when I realized how freezing I was going to be in my later-and-longer- than-ambitiously-”planned” final stretch, I could have asked Jason to leave a shirt for me-- but then it wouldn’t be unsupported. I chattered through. Pumping my arms and wiggling my fingers, making a plan to use my Turtle Fur tube to warm up individual body parts one at a time if it came down to it. (Thankfully I didn't get to that point-- there was a miracle of a temperature shift climbing out of the canyons towards Ray Miller.) Okay, but why? Seriously, why? Why six weeks after getting the womens’ supported FKT by the skin of my teeth (holding the record for a week [congrats again Bri])… why go back out there solo, with nothing cached and run it again? Well, I had time to think about it. A) I’m a psycho for a challenge B) It’s to inspire. We have this day, and this body to do rad shit with. The only way I’m going to know if I *can do something* is if I set the intention and do the damn thing. I encourage others to grab life by the balls. At the end of the day: what a privilege it was to be able experience my own fortitude through a raw solo adventure ~68 miles across the Santa Monica Mountains.



  • Started at 7:20 a.m., because when it’s your run, you can do whatever you want. 
  • H20 Plan: 2 full 500ml soft flasks, 2 empty 500ml soft flasks, 1 empty 1.5L bladder -- started with 2 full flasks and all the food (which I’ll get to…) Finished and refilled the OG 2 flasks at mile 12.1, plus filled a spare to suck down while running to Greenleaf Canyon Road. *Mostly* filled everything at Piuma/Tapia Trailhead (including the bonus flasks). Filled two flasks at Danielson Ranch. 
  • Food included: my last four Maurten samples from a buddy (definitely sold on these), Stolen snacks from work aka the goodr Lagoon, including Goldfish FTW (wish I had more!), some kind of power balls, a few random Gu gels. I lost or forgot my Salt Sticks, I would have benefited greatly from more salt!
  • Lost my weed gummies and Ibuprofen in the first five miles, in other words, it was just me in my body with no pain management or bonus high for the entire duration.
  • Jason took advantage of the great cycling in the area and he never successfully crossed paths with me. I shot him a few texts when I had service to let him know my whereabouts. A friend snapped pictures from the distance at my Will Rogers kickoff. I yo-yo’d a bit with two guys who started a few hours before me. It truly was just me and a pack filled with minimal essentials.



  • Need to consider the unsupported factor-- even down to the shoe selection… shoulda worn my Hokas, my feet would have felt way more cushioned and stabilized with the extra weight vs. my beat up but fun to run in Trail Pegs.
  • Bring a shirt… no matter what time you *think* you’re going to finish.
  • “Harrison Ranch” is Danielson Ranch. Idk why or how I so convincingly changed the name of it in my head.
  • If you don’t go out balls to the wall occasionally, you’ll never know your limits-- I felt beat up for the second half of the run, but it was worth the hooting and hollering effort of the first half. 


The BBT continues to amaze me! Stoked to be the first unsupported solo report.

Time according to the “Full Backbone FKT Strava Segment” is 15:16:51. My previous supported run isn’t listed within that segment because of my Topanga navigational error. Which shall now be referred to as the “Topanga Triangle.”


Watch some video from the run in my IG story, which I’ll post once this submission gets approved! @shelbzzf


Side note: I’m noticing discrepancies at where runner’s are starting. There is an actual sign deeper into the park on the right of the bathrooms, vs. the trailhead closest to the bathrooms.